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Bally Officials Deadlocked on Police Contract
Written by Allison Czapp Correspondent
2017-01-04

        Bally Borough Police will start the new year without a new contract after borough officials deadlocked over whether to sign the agreement on Tuesday.

        Borough Council President Glenn Mutter questioned why contract negotiations took so long, noting that the process started in late October. Solicitor Matt Doll said that there were communication delays, in addition to some final details about health insurance, that needed to be worked out.

        However, Mutter was dismayed that the borough's two full-time officers had not signed the contract and were not present to do so at the meeting. Officials said they weren't sure whether the officers even approved the contract, although Doll said he was "operating under the assumption that the police contract will be signed" by the officers.

        The final contract, prepared by Doll, was not sent to the borough by the officers' negotiator because of a medical emergency that day. The negotiator said he would get the contract to the borough on Thursday.

        Mutter said he felt like the officers and their representative delayed signing the contract "on purpose," and voted against approving the agreement. Council members Ronald Gilbert and David Isett also voted against approval. With Council member Kristine Raedler and Mayor David Schott absent from the meeting, the "yes" votes by Council members Matthew Gehman, Clinton Snyder and Michael Bauman could not win the majority.

        Council will vote again on the contract next month.

        "I'm not against the police," Mutter said later in the meeting. "I'm just against how this was done," he said, referring to the delays.

        Council revisited police issues late in the meeting and officials said that after a new contract is signed, the Health, Safety and Welfare Committee will begin revising operational procedures for the department. Mutter said that the committee will assist Schott in the revisions to address policies that are "vague."

        Isett also questioned the allowable distances officers could travel for lunch, saying that it could present a safety issue if the officer has to drive through the borough at a high speed to respond to a call.  

        In other business, Borough Manager Leo Mutter told council that work has started on the sewer rehabilitation project.  So far, crews have televised and cleaned pipes north of Main Street. Lining of the pipes is expected to start later this month.

        During the water and sewer report, Glenn Mutter asked Public Works Superintendent Nate Heffner what the "end goal" was in fixing sewer problems.

        According to Heffner, the state Department of Environmental Protection "just wants manholes to not overflow." He said that a DEP official told him, "'You keep it in the pipes, and we'll back away from the table.'"

        Heffner said he is hopeful that the current work being done to fix leaks and line pipes will solve a lot of the problems, but he said he thought other aspects of the system overhaul – notably the new conveyance pipes – would be happening in tandem with the lining.

        Although the sewer plant is not currently operating near capacity, Heffner said steps to reduce the overall quantity of water coming into the plant are still needed.

        Leo Mutter also reported to council that several residents have recently complained about unregistered or uninspected vehicles in the borough. Officials said they will notify residents with such vehicles that they are violating the borough's zoning code and that the borough will pursue legal action against them if the vehicles are not removed. 

        Officials are also looking to fill a vacancy on the borough's zoning hearing board.


 

 

 

 

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